Danny Davis breaks down the new, ‘creative’ Dew Tour layout and team format for Dec. 8-11 (video) | SummitDaily.com

Danny Davis breaks down the new, ‘creative’ Dew Tour layout and team format for Dec. 8-11 (video)

Dew Tour is back and all grown up. Just take it from Danny Davis.

"The Dew Tour has gotten a bit more creative this year," said Davis, the hooded and bearded face of the sport these days, who's also a longtime finalist at Breck's hometown snowboard and freeski competition. "Dew Tour has taken a lot of inspiration from what we did at Peace Park."

When Dew Tour returns to Breckenridge from Oct. 8-11 (see sidebar for full schedule), thousands of fans will think they're seeing a real-live, no-filter broadcast from Peace Park, the sprawling snow playground that Davis and his buddies designed at Grand Targhee Resort in Wyoming. Just about everyone knows what a superpipe is by now, but Peace Park (with some help from sponsor Mountain Dew) introduced the Internet to madhouse features most folks had never before seen: enormous hips, flow lines, pump tracks and wallrides, all linked together by a superpipe at the heart.

Davis' experiment changed what the public expects from freestyle riding, and now it's changing how Mountain Dew puts on its namesake winter sports event. With help from new producer The Enthusiast Network — aka TEN, owners of Transworld Snowboarding, Powder Magazine, Grind TV and more — Mountain Dew is bringing Peace Park-style features like a modified superpipe and reinvented slopestyle course to Breckenridge.

But, there's more. This season, Dew Tour also introduces the first team format for a major winter event. Six snowboard and six freeski teams from the biggest brands in the industry — think names like Burton, Capita snowboards, Line Skis and more — are bringing three athletes each for the men's team competition on Saturday and Sunday. The concept is damn simple: Each team sends one rider each to the superpipe, jump line and jib line, and the team with the best combined score wins.

If the whole thing sounds eerily similar to Transworld's old Team Challenge event, it's not a coincidence.

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"We knew there was something that had to change for the competition format," said Adam Cozens, new Dew Tour general manager with TEN and former publisher at Transworld Snowboarding. "It (the team format) would add to the overall experience and the content story. We wanted to bring new athletes in who don't normally compete… I think it's a unique story to see these teams come together."

New Dew, new audience

Davis, Cozens and everyone involved are genuinely excited for the new Dew Tour and with good reason. The format has changed slightly since it debuted in 2008, but most of those changes are isolated to the layout of a slopestyle course. Last season, when NBC's in-house production branch Alli Sports disbanded weeks after the annual event, the tour's future hung in limbo. Mountain Dew and NBC were still onboard as sponsors, but it didn't look like there would be any feet on the ground to make it happen.

TEN saw an opportunity to build a new identity for Dew Tour, Cozens said, and it started with new features like the Peace Park-style superpipe. TEN collaborated with the two veteran Dew Tour builders — Snow Park Technologies and Breckenridge Skit Resort's in-house cat crew — to build a superpipe with two major additions: a hip jump at the top and a transition at the bottom.

"With the pipe, there have been some influences from things like (Red Bull) Double Pipe and, obviously, Danny Davis inspirations from Peace Park," lead builder Chris Gunnarson with SPT said. "The jib line has a lot of variations and options and just more features than what people are used to seeing in a normal slopestyle course."

Changes to the pipe and slopestyle course are pitch-perfect for the new team format, Cozens said. Take the jib line: with more urban-style features than before, teams need to send their best jibber to Dew Tour — the sort of guys who rarely compete but have huge social media followings.

For Cozens, bringing Dew Tour to a millennial audience on millennial terms will be good for Dew Tour. The event will be broadcast on NBC in the thick of the holidays, first on Dec. 17 and again on Dec. 24, but everything will stream live online through the Dew Tour website. TEN's two major winter mags, Transworld Snowboarding and Powder, will present their annual awards at the Riverwalk Center during the tour, and the network's social media will flood with photos, video and more, like Facebook Live streams.

"It's no secret, right, that the TV audience is different than a core millennial audience," Cozens said. "They're interacting digitally and socially, but the broadcast piece is still great because it rounds out what Dew Tour touches and the kind of people who want to see this. It's not an either-or situation."

For the athletes and designers, the more people who see the future of the sport, the better.

"Some folks may want to homologate or standardize slopestyle courses," Gunnarson said. "But that is a philosophy that runs counter to the freedom of personal expression that these freestyle winter sports are all about."

2016 Dew Tour

What: The latest edition of the first major snowboard and freeski competition of the North American winter, with a new team format and reimagined features for superpipe and slopestyle

When: Dec. 8-11

Where: Breckenridge

Cost: Free for spectators

The four-day event features individual superpipe and slopestyle for skiers and snowboarders, plus the new team competition with pipe, jumps and jibs. All on-mountain events are free and open to the public. In-town events like concerts, parties and film premieres might require tickets. For more info, including a complete calendar and up-to-date list of invited athletes, see http://www.summitdaily.com.


2016 Dew Tour calendar

Here is a quick glimpse at events for the 9th edition of Dew Tour in Breckenridge. All team and individual finals will be streamed live online the day of the event. The individual men’s ski and snowboard finals will be broadcast on NBC Dec. 17 and Dec. 24. For a complete schedule, see http://www.dewtour.com.

Tuesday, Dec. 6

8-11:30 a.m. — Ski superpipe practice

8-11:30 a.m. — Snowboard slopestyle practice

Noon to 3 p.m. — Snowboard superpipe practice

Noon to 3 p.m. — Ski slopestyle practice

Wednesday, Dec. 7

8-11:30 a.m. — Snowboard superpipe practice

8-11:30 a.m. — Ski slopestyle practice

Noon to 3 p.m. — Snowboard slopestyle practice

Noon to 3 p.m. — Ski superpipe practice

Thursday, Dec. 8

8-11:30 a.m. — Ski superpipe practice

8-11:30 a.m. — Snowboard slopestyle practice

Noon to 3 p.m. — Snowboard superpipe practice

Noon to 3 p.m. — Ski slopestyle practice

7 p.m. — Powder Magazine Powder Awards, Riverwalk Theater in Breckenridge

Friday, Dec. 9

9-10 a.m. — Women’s snowboard superpipe final

10 a.m. to noon — Women’s snowboard slopestyle final

12:15-1 p.m. — Women’s ski superpipe final

1:15-3 p.m. — Women’s ski slopestyle final

7 p.m. — Transworld Snowboarding Riders Poll Awards, Riverwalk Theater in Breckenridge

Saturday, Dec. 10

9-10 a.m. — Men’s snowboard superpipe final

10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. — Men’s snowboard slopestyle final

12:30-1 p.m. — Men’s ski superpipe final TEAM

1:15-3 p.m. — Men’s ski slopestyle final TEAM

Sunday, Dec. 11

9-10 a.m. — Men’s ski superpipe final

10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. — Men’s ski slopestyle final

12:30-1 p.m. — Men’s snowboard superpipe final TEAM

1:15-3 p.m. — Men’s snowboard slopestyle final TEAM